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In Situ Detection of Amino Acids from Bacterial Biofilms and Plant Root Exudates by Liquid Microjunction Surface-Sampling Pro...

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Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
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The plant rhizosphere is a complex and dynamic chemical environment where the exchange of molecular signals between plants, microbes, and fungi drives the development of the entire biological system. Exogenous compounds in the rhizosphere are known to affect plant-microbe organization, interactions between organisms, and ultimately, growth and survivability. The function of exogenous compounds in the rhizosphere is still under much investigation, specifically with respect to their roles in plant growth and development, the assembly of the associated microbial community, and the spatiotemporal distribution of molecular components. A major challenge for spatiotemporal measurements is developing a nondisruptive and nondestructive technique capable of analyzing the exogenous compounds contained within the environment. A methodology using liquid microjunction-surface sampling probe-mass spectrometry (LMJ-SSP-MS) and microfluidic devices with attached microporous membranes was developed for in situ, spatiotemporal measurement of amino acids (AAs) from bacterial biofilms and plant roots. Exuded arginine was measured from a living Pantoea YR343 biofilm, which resulted in a chemical image indicative of biofilm growth within the device. Spot sampling along the roots of Populus trichocarpa with the LMJ-SSP-MS resulted in the detection of 15 AAs. Variation in AA concentrations across the root system was observed, indicating that exudation is not homogeneous and may be linked to local rhizosphere architecture and different biological processes along the root.